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Massachusetts VS. Sheppard. By: Lindsay Sherman. Historical Background. British troops were allowed to search without warrants during the Colonial Period This however went against the 4 th Amendment

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Massachusetts vs sheppard

Massachusetts VS. Sheppard

By: Lindsay Sherman

Historical background
Historical Background

  • British troops were allowed to search without warrants during the Colonial Period

  • This however went against the 4th Amendment

  • In 1941, the Supreme Court excluded any evidence from illegal searches in the federal courts

  • In 1961, this “exclusionary rule” was now complete to all courts in the United States

Circumstances of case
Circumstances of Case

  • In 1979, Sandra Boulware’s was found in a vacant parking lot in Boston. She was badly beaten and burned. He boyfriend Sheppard was questioned on her murder. They found blood in Sheppard’s borrowed car and thought they had a right to get a search warrant.

  • The search warrant used was properly completed, but the detective who was leading the investigation could not find the proper kind of search warrant and instead used one for drug searches.

Circumstances of case1
Circumstances of Case

  • When the detective presented all the materials to the judge, the judge told him he would make the changes to the warrant for him.

  • The changes were never made and finally during the trial, the warrant was revealed.

  • The police searched Sheppard’s home thinking the warrant was good because the judge had told him the changes would be made, and unfortunately, they weren’t made.

Constitutional issues
Constitutional Issues

  • The court was asked to re examine the exclusionary rule as it had been in 1961

  • Is evidence tolerable if it was gained a faulty warrant?

Arguments for
Arguments For

  • The detective and judge both understood that the warrant needed corrections

  • The fact that it wasn’t corrected wasn’t the polices fault

Arguments against
Arguments Against

  • The police should not have been so careless with their work

  • The police should follow the 4th Amendment and not just be “in spirit” with it

Decision and rationale
Decision and Rationale

  • The court decided 6-3 that Sheppard was guilty of the murder.

  • “The exclusionary rule should not be applied when the officer conducting the search has acted with the seasonable belief that he was following proper procedures.”

My opinion
My Opinion

  • In my opinion, I think they should have searched Sheppard’s house just how they did. I know it may have violated the 4th Amendment, but I mean the blood was found in his car should be enough to search his house. I think that the police and judge were both careless, but I also think they had every right to search the house after finding the blood.